Reboot Podcast Episode #132 – The Startup Myths – with David Sax

The Reboot podcast showcases the heart and soul, the wins and losses, the ups and downs of startup leadership. On the show, Entrepreneurs, CEO’s, and Startup Leaders discuss with Jerry Colonna the emotional and psychological challenges they face daily as leaders.


David Sax

David Sax

Writer & Journalist

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Episode Description

For this podcast release, Jerry sits down with David Sax to chat about his latest book, The Soul of an Entrepreneur: Work and Life Beyond the Startup Myth. In their conversation, David outlines how the archetype of the hero entrepreneur has been glorified by Silicon Valley and illustrates how this particular prescriptive formula for startup success can be limiting and exclusionary for under-represented groups. David addresses how romanticizing the startup myth stymies creation and limits what businesses receive funding. Jerry and David chat about the freedom and risk associated with any entrepreneurial venture and consider the importance of smaller businesses and the immense value they provide their local communities.

The Soul of an Entrepreneur: Work and Life Beyond the Startup MythRichard Cantillion

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Show Highlights

Top Quotes:

“I think the startup myth is a fairytale. It reduces entrepreneurship down to the narrative that you are the hero.” – David Sax

“Like all myths, it doesn’t ring true for the vast majority of people that go out to become entrepreneurs in any business.” – David Sax

“If you set a set of expectations of what a myth is supposed to be like and what a hero’s supposed to look like, first of all, anyone who isn’t that hero and doesn’t fit into that archetype already feels excluded.” – David Sax

“In the Silicon Valley startup myth where 97.2% of venture capital funding goes to men or companies started by white men, if you’re a woman, a person of color, from an indigenous community, if you want to build a company outside of very specific parameters, you don’t see yourself reflected in that myth.” – David Sax

“Entrepreneurship is something that can take a thousand different paths from the same beginning.” – David Sax

“If we only tell the story of one path of that journey, and that’s the one we mythologize, and that’s the one we teach, and that’s the one we glorify…Then we are limiting the possibilities of what people are willing to do, of what people are willing to fund, of the businesses that might be built and the lives that might be changed and impacted because of that.” – David Sax

“Small business owners who make up the vast majority of economic activity also pay a cost because they’re not lionized, they’re not celebrated.” – Jerry Colonna

“The businesses that are going under, the businesses that are finding it harder, impossible to get government loans and backing through the PPE disaster program or even just getting bank financing are those everyday small and medium-sized businesses.” – David Sax

“The lack of diversity in our entrepreneurial ecosystem I think is just as deadly for our industrial experience, for economic experience.” – Jerry Colonna

“The majority of entrepreneurs are lifestyle businesses, but we’ve seen that as a negative because it doesn’t take into it the idea that every year must have an exponential curve of growth and the goal of selling the business essentially at the end of the day.” – David Sax

“Entrepreneurship is such a fundamentally human phenomenon and so much of that is just purely emotional and personal. For each entrepreneur, the reason for existing in a way is driven by something that’s intimately personal to them.” – David Sax

“Risk is the burden that every entrepreneur who signs up for the freedom has to, has to take with them” – David Sax